Glowing like a goddess from my facial I realise that I mistimed the whole lunch nap thing and emerge from the spa room bleary eyed from the bliss state of being pampered and find my way to the lunch table. Hair askew with moisturising cream in the roots around the edge of my face, I’m instantly glad of the women only casual in house atmosphere. Joining me at the long table are goddesses still in their bathers and sarongs and those in the robes also direct from some spa treatment.
Changing my seat location at every meal I’m trying to not get caught talking to the same lovely ladies, with but engage with some quieter types or those who came with another. As I am attending this retreat with my sister, some expect us to do everything together but we can talk to each other anytime in Melbourne so we are both more likely to seek out new friends in the making. Today’s food is to be Indonesian and Nadine is excited to learn it will be Gado gado for lunch. Hailing from South-east Asia originally herself, it is a dish she was hoping to seek out. The resort brought it to her. Essentially a salad with bean shoots, tomato, green beans, tofu and hardboiled egg with a spicy peanut dressing. It is both cleansing and filling at once. Local tea with lemon is a refreshing accompaniment.
Satiated from lunch I retire to those inviting big white couches to contemplate a post-lunch nap seeing as my pre-lunch one didn’t eventuate. My phone alarm sounds as I realise that my time for the antioxidant green tea and honey scrub and massage is now. When fitting in a nap is the trickiest thing for the day, I decide that things are pretty damn good. Leaving my things where they are, I walk a dozen paces barefoot to the air-conditioned spa rooms upstairs above the yoga room.
My spa treatment this afternoon is courtesy of Yeni. I’ve had her before when I had the facial this morning. Her thin, supple fingers are surprisingly strong and she manipulates my limbs and muscles easily. My body is engaged and so my mind wanders. I wonder if her loved ones ever get to experience these magic fingers. Often the builder’s house is never finished just as the chef never cooks meals at home. She leans in close and whispers into my ears. “Excuse me, Miss”. It is enough for me to know how this progresses and I roll over onto my back whilst she raises the thin batik printed sarong of brilliant blues to preserve my modesty.
On the bed in the next curtained massage zone are the sounds of the heated lava stones being moved firmly in long strokes along the body of another goddess. At first, my mind guessed that someone was playing billiards. The solid clicks as they meet along acupressure points, took my mind unwillingly to a billiard table. Heavy solid coloured balls rolling along the felt meeting in all the wrong spots. Improved circulation and not a gambling debt was the intended of outcome of the Sacred Stone Masssage.
After the initial massage Yeni applies a rough scrub of crushed dried green tea leaves and local jungle bee honey, she lets this rest on my skin then slowly rubs it in and off with long firm strokes. A grand mess is no doubt made all over the shiny white tiled floor than she will sweep clean later. Floors are swept and mopped every day and sometimes multiple times a day. This whole environment is neat and clean but it never feels overly pristine and alienating. I have trouble relaxing in a place where I feel that I am the messiest part. The retreat facilitators generally walk around barefoot and that immediately sets a relaxed vibe to the place.
Invigorated and revitalised, I am sent on my way with instructions to shower the remainder of the scrub off. Instinctively I go to smell my arm and it is sweet and almost fruity. I’ll skip the tasting bit. Our shower is a large flat rain head of a shower set over pale tiles surrounded by a bed of smooth river stones. A large potted palm in the corner adds to the understated luxury. The heat and humidity of Bali in February mean that I find myself here multiple times a day. Straight into my still wet bathers and into the pool I dive, two steps from our door so no sarong is required.
The intoxicating smell of frying and pounding of spices and herbs which emanates from the open sided kitchen has stimulated my stomach and I figure out that dinner is two and a half hours away. I ask the very accommodating kitchen staff for a plate of freshly prepared fruit. So colourful and tasty, I am brought lychee, mangosteen, papaya, mango, banana and watermelon with a couple of wedges of the small juicy limes that seem to accompany everything here. Squeezed over the flesh just before consuming, it lifts the tone to a slightly higher level. These tropical fruits cannot even be purchased in Melbourne in this good and ripe a condition.